CITY of Plymouth hurdler David King was thrilled to automatically secure a place in the Great Britain team for next month’s European Indoor Athletics Championships in Belgrade.
King booked his place on the plane to Serbia by finishing second behind world number one Andy Pozzi at the British trials on Saturday.
The former Devonport High School for Boys pupil had achieved the tough British qualifying time of 7.65 seconds the previous week in France, so went to Sheffield knowing a top two spot would be enough to make his first major indoor championships.
However, he had to hold his nerve in South Yorkshire after his big rival David Omoregie and Edrin Okoro were disqualified for a false start which held the final up.
Both Pozzi and King were down on their best times in the final. Pozzi, who had equalled his PB of 7.44 seconds in the heats, clocked 7.51 to win, with King, who had run 7.70 in the heats, finishing in 7.76.
The time, though, was not important to King. He just wanted a top two finish.
“I was really happy with the overall result,” said King, who last year missed out on competing at the World Indoor Championships by just 0.01 of a second.
“There was a lot of commotion at the start and delays, but I was just happy I came second and secured a spot automatically.”
It is almost certain British Athletics will also take Omoregie as all three Brits are in European’s top 10 and the world’s top 20.
King, though, was disappointed Omoregie’s disqualification robbed him, Pozzi and the Sheffield crowd of the showdown everyone wanted to see.
“I would have liked him to run,” said King. “It would have been nice for us all to have a head-to-head and see what we could all do.
“I think if we had all gone on that first start, I think we would have all run pretty fast.
“I felt really good on that first start, but after the delays we all felt a bit tight.”
However, the showdown between the top three British sprint hurdlers could come this weekend when they all compete at the Birmingham International Grand Prix.
That will be King’s last event before the European Championships, which take place between March 3-5.
Having reached the semi-finals of last year’s outdoor European Championships on his senior GB debut, King is hoping he can go one better in Belgrade.
“My target is to reach the final,” he admitted. “I think I would be a bit disappointed if I didn’t.
“There’s a few really good guys in European, but behind them it is quite open.”
King believes Britain’s strength in depth in the hurdles is bringing the best out of him.
“To have the world leader from your own country is pretty cool,” said King. “It’s good to be able to race him quite often and try to hold on to him.”
Meanwhile, there was more success for Erme Valley Harriers triple jumper Sam Trigg in America at the weekend.
Trigg, who last week set a new PB of 15.87 metres, finished third at the Dom Kirby Indoor Meet in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The former Ivybridge Community College pupil finished with a top jump of 15.76m, which, up until last week, would have been a PB. He was consistent all day with four jumps over 15.62m.
Meanwhile, his club team-mate Will Battershill and City of Plymouth’s Poppy Tank were also in action in America over the weekend.
Battershill clocked 8.45.93 for the 3,000m at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational indoor event at Boston University, while Tank ran 9:47.48 for the 3,000m at the Husky Classic in Seattle.